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‘Reno 911’ Makes A Seamless Transition To Quibi, Harkening Back To Funnier Times


They don’t make television comedies like they used to, and few were ever made as brilliantly as “Reno 911,” the jewel of Comedy Central’s glorious mid-aughts lineup. But it’s back, and better than pretty much every new comedy on air right now, despite clocking in around seven minutes an episode.

In these trying times, happiness is an elusive sensation. The unbridled joy I felt one minute into the reboot’s premiere, having realized “Reno 911” is returning to us in fine form, defies description. In Quibi’s hands, the show is back at its Bush-era peak, a relic from a time when few topics were off limits in comedy, and skillful humorists lampooned every one of them with equal vigor and delight. You can’t fully understand the magnitude of this cultural loss until you see Jim Dangle work his way through a PSA on gender pronouns.

The PSAs are only of many gags from the show’s original run that return in the reboot, which premieres on Monday, including Junior’s universally ill-fated attempts to pull drivers over, and Dangle’s bicycle woes. Familiar faces like Patton Oswalt, Toby Huss (Big Mike), and Dave Holmes (Leslie Frost) make appearances as well, furthering the show’s ability to channel its singular original spirit.

Speaking of which, “Reno 911!” left the air in 2009, but more than a decade later, its cultural commentaries hold up remarkably well. Revisit, for instance, the eighth episode of season five, presciently titled “The Wall,” for a taste of the show’s lasting satirical value. Quibi’s reboot is similarly fearless, diving straight into the new politics of policing, transgenderism, paper straws, and gun control. Oswalt’s character is basically Alex Jones. With the exception, perhaps, of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” another holdover from the mid-aughts, there’s just nothing like this on television anymore.